Magazine February 6, 2012, Issue

Poetry

CENTURION

(Matthew 2:16)

I’ve slaughtered babies all day long,

near Bethlehem. But why? If the wizards are right,

nothing can alter the Fates, and, if they’re wrong,

we’re killing without a reason. So now, at night,

I wash the dry and splattered blood away,

then fall to sleep, into a feverish hell,

hearing the wails of the mothers as they pray

for retribution and vengeance, hearing, as well,

my mother’s voice — who nursed me through the sweats

when I was born — whose melodious words nowsing,

above the whirl of curses and alien threats:

“Whoever injures a child is a fiendish thing,”

whispering, like Rachel, not so long ago,

“and lower than the lowest of the low.”

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

The Youth Candidate

It seems like establishment Republicans will do just about anything to win elections. In 2007, Florida governor Charlie Crist, channeling Al Gore, signed executive orders unilaterally regulating greenhouse-gas emissions in ...
Politics & Policy

Ha. Ha. Ha.

If everyone who used the acronym “LOL” were actually engaged in the act of Laughing Out Loud, the world would be ringing with the happy sound of laughter pretty much ...

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

The Virtue Deficit

Charles Murray writes important and provocative books. His latest book, Coming Apart, joins Losing Ground (1984) and The Bell Curve (1994) as, in my view, among his most important and ...
Politics & Policy

The Vice of Moderation

National Review’s founding in 1955 is widely considered the spark that lit the modern conservative movement. According to Geoffrey Kabaservice’s new book, that moment was also the beginning of the ...
Politics & Policy

Acid Test

Everything changed for Ambrose Bierce the day he was shot in the head. At least that’s one theory about how a bright young man from Horse Cave Creek in Ohio ...
Politics & Policy

Mute Point

This promises to be a challenging year for Oscar voters. The old reliables — Steven Spielberg with War Horse, Martin Scorsese with Hugo, Clint Eastwood with J. Edgar — haven’t ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Poetry

CENTURION (Matthew 2:16) I’ve slaughtered babies all day long, near Bethlehem. But why? If the wizards are right, nothing can alter the Fates, and, if they’re wrong, we’re killing without a reason. So now, at night, I ...
Happy Warrior

Paul the Parochial

Uncle Sam has now spent a decade running around the Hindu Kush building grade schools and shoveling taxpayer-funded Viagra to every elderly village headman with one too many child brides. ...
Politics & Policy

Letters

Lincoln’s Constitution and Ours Fred Schwarz made my blood boil in his review of Lincoln and the Triumph of the Nation (“Lincoln’s Constitution,” January 23). Does the expression “The ends justify ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Mismanaged and lacking strategic direction, the Gingrich campaign may be in need of a leveraged buyout. ‐ After the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, Mitt Romney is much ...
The Bent Pin

Mr. Hitchens and I

Christopher Hitchens and I were not friends or even acquaintances. We never met or spoke on the phone, just exchanged occasional brief letters — notes really — hand-written and snail-mailed ...
Athwart

The Gilded Choo-choo

Aside from the used diaper in the sleeping-car compartment, it wasn’t a bad train trip. Arrived the day it was supposed to, didn’t derail. If you’re wondering how a used ...
The Long View

NSA Surveillance

Document Extract Mobile Communication Project Begin extract 01.15.12 GMT 13:47 Static. Unidentified Male Voice: Hello? Unidentified Male Voice 2: Yessir? Over. Unidentified Male Voice: Is this Rick Perry? Unidentified Male Voice 2: Yes it is, sir. To whom ...

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